If you’d like to learn how to shoot underwater videos, check out this quick tips before you jump in the water with your housing. There are some things you need to know before your first underwater shooting.
- First, make sure your equipment is good to go.
Before going underwater with your expensive equipment, you need to test your underwater housing and make sure is sealed properly. Ideally, you want to test your housing in a pool, but it can be tested in a lake or in shallow water in the ocean. Without the camera inside, take the housing underwater for a few minutes, or even for an entire dive, when you come out of the water, check for any leaks inside the housing. Once you verify that there are no leaks, then the next dive you can bring the camera in the housing and start your first underwater shooting.
- Practice, practice, practice!
No matter what you are shooting, fish, reef, wrecks, people etc., you will need to have a plan, or an idea of what you want in your video, and then practice! For example, if I want to shoot my dive buddies descending from the surface, I will need to go underwater first to take position, then wait for them to jump in the water and shoot them from underwater as they descend. On the other hand, if I am shooting on the reef, that’s more improvised, because you never know what creature is going to come out. But as you practice, you start learning the creatures’ behavior, then you can somewhat predict what the creature is going to do next, so you can be prepared. Whatever you do, never chase a creature for a shoot. You will never catch them up, and all you will get in your shoot is their tail, or many times, just a shadow of it. And even worse, you will upset the other divers in the group, since you just chased away a beautiful creature which could’ve been enjoyed by everybody.
- Keep the color.
You might remember from your open water diver class, that as you go deep, the colors begin to disappear, and the first color to disappear is red. If you dive mostly in the Caribbean or in blue water, you need a red filter. If you are in a lake or in green murky water, you need a magenta filter.
- Keep your camera steady.
It is always difficult to maintain your underwater camera totally still. There are currents, surges, waves, and you are swimming all over. It’s like shooting on land as you are running and trying to keep your camera still for the shoot, that’s not going to happen, you’ll get a shaky video for sure. When you hold your camera underwater, hold it with both hands and try to keep your elbows close to your body. This will keep your camera, if not still 100%, a lot less shaky. If you have an action camera or a GoPro, as I do, get a stick and hold it as steady as possible. Some people use a tripod, but in my opinion, a tripod is for a more elaborated shooting, or depending on the scene that you need. If you are going to use a tripod, make sure you sit the tripod on the sand, and not on living reef.
- Use lights.
Always use lights! As I mentioned before, the deeper you go, the less light you get, and you will lose red right away. You will get lots of blue, greens, and browns, but with lights you will bring the reds and oranges back.
Do you have any tips to share? Feel free to share your tips in the comment section below.